Expectations for growth have changed rapidly and positively in Eastern Europe and last year, Romania’s economy grew at an annual rate of 5.6 percent, the highest rate in the EU. Behind this growth, agricultural production played a pivotal role, sustained by an increase in consumption for both local and export of agricultural goods and processed products.
This progress did not happen overnight. After the political and social changes in the early 90s, there was not an easy transition to a free market economy in the following decade, which created a gap between the past and the future. To close the gap and match the growing demand for meat from the domestic and export markets, the integrated companies have invested heavily in remodeling existing facilities or building new ones. The timing has been right for Romania, because as an EU member state, the country has benefited from EU grants to develop the feed, poultry, and livestock industries. Private funds often supplement these European funds, in addition to governmental funds.
With the continuation of investments and resources, Romania will truly unlock the vast potential of a country that could easily increase grains production. The past years’ grains crops in Romania were at historic levels and production volumes have just returned to pre-90s production levels.
However, investing alone is not enough. Animal feeding and husbandry is an art, too. To be ahead of the competition, the feed manufacturers need to constantly improve their practices and performances. This requires a knowledge transfer about feed ingredients, modern animal nutrition concepts, efficient feed manufacturing, and animal farm management.
In an effort to increase the awareness of U.S. Soy, transfer knowledge, and continue strengthening relationships with end users from Romania, USSEC dedicated an activity during the second week of March to key integrated companies from northwest Romania. Among these, the Nutrietul Group, Romania’s largest poultry and pig integrator, was visited with the goal to follow up with company’s managers who attended the recent USSEC training at the Polytechnic University of Madrid.
The two-day visit offered broad opportunities for the consultants to understand the current status of the local industries. The discussions covered a wide range of topics from grain quality to feed manufacturing practices and profitability in feed and livestock production. Romanian feed and livestock companies are open to improvement and progress, and the field visits are an excellent opportunity for U.S. Soy.
By providing technical knowledge to end users, USSEC is supporting both the development of the poultry and livestock industries in Romania and building loyalty among end users of U.S. Soy. The Eastern European countries’ animal industries development provides a growing opportunity for U.S. Soy, which needs to be closely followed and captured by exporters. Romanian poultry and livestock production particularly is growing rapidly and well above the rate of growth seen in other parts of Eastern Europe. This will require an increased amount of commodities and knowledge. Consequently, the prospects for U.S. Soy in this area are excellent and are deserving of further effort and attention.